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Eagle Scout celebrated at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Posted on 26 June 2017 by calvin

Eagle Scout Award 13

Photo above: The new community oven at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was fired up to almost 900 degrees in its inaugural run on May 20. Constructing the oven was the project of Eagle Scout Danya Werth. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

An Eagle Scout Court of Honor was held for Longfellow resident Danya Werth on May 20 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest level of achievement in the Boy Scouts of America, and one that only about 6% of scouts achieve nationally.

A recent graduate of South High School, Danya’s journey toward this day of celebration started when he joined Troop #38 in third grade. He attended weekly den meetings with his family. Former den mother Karen Kemp, said, “The family was notable from the beginning because they always came together on their bikes: Danya; his younger brother, Anton; his mother, Karen Vierstraete Werth; and his father, Gerry Werth.”

Eagle Scout Award 19Photo right: Danya Werth (pictured right) in front of the community oven he built to earn his Eagle Scout award. His mother, Karen Vierstraete Werth, is pictured at left. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Danya remembered, “When I started thinking about my Eagle Scout project, I asked the administrators at Holy Trinity if there were any jobs on the drawing board that just weren’t getting done. The idea for the community oven came up, and I thought, ‘I can do that.’” Little did I know what I had signed on for.”

The Eagle Scout ceremony was a time for remembering not just the labors of the final project, but all of the love and hard work that guided Danya to its completion. Tragically, one week after finishing the community oven, Danya’s father Gerry died of a heart attack on Oct. 31, 2016.

“Gerry was such a big part of this whole thing,” Danya’s mother Karen, said. “Danya needed a lot of motivation from the people around him because this project was so huge. At the end of the Eagle Scout ceremony, when the mentor pins were given out, I was glad that Danya was able to lay a pin on the altar where Gerry’s photo stood.”

Danya pinned a mentor pin on his mother as well, and the six adult leaders whom, he said, “helped to make me a better scout, and a better person.” He thanked his fellow scouts and scout leaders, church members, and friends. Of his parents, he said, “Without your motivation, determination, and love, this project would not have been possible.”

Minnesota Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar both sent letters of congratulations, along with other politicians and dignitaries.

The court of honor was followed by the unveiling of Danya’s Eagle Scout project: the community oven that he, along with a legion of helpers, built in the garden of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Pastor Ingrid Rasmussen said, “Not only did Danya earn his badge in a big way, but with this project, he gave us a tool for connecting with our neighbors for years to come.”

Larry Vaker, the owner of Think Stucco, was among the more than 100 people who came to celebrate. He volunteered three days of his time to help Danya stucco the shell of the oven last fall. “I was in scouting when I was a boy too,” Vaker said. “When Danya contacted me, I was very impressed by the scope of his project. To complete the eagle scout badge, you have to master a lot of skills like project management, communication, and the ability to delegate. You have to learn how to be a leader—and to be humble.”

According to Lynda Norholm of the Minneapolis Area Synod, which gave Danya a grant for his project, “Today was the first time the community oven was fired up. Because it was completed the week before his father died, it’s been standing silently—almost like a monument. But today, fired up to 900 degrees and baking all of those delicious pizzas, the community oven was brought to life.”

In the fall, Danya will be heading to the University of North Dakota, where he plans to study to become a pilot. Appropriately, the closing words of his Eagle Scout Court of Honor were, “Go now with eagle’s wings.”

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